- Ian Saunders officially took over as secretary general of the World Customs Organization, replacing Kunio Mikuriya
- The change in WCO leadership was celebrated on January 3 by a handover ceremony from Mikuriya
- Saunders will be serving a five-year term
Ian Saunders officially took over as secretary general of the World Customs Organization (WCO), replacing Kunio Mikuriya.
The change in WCO leadership was celebrated on January 3 by a handover ceremony from Mikuriya, who has led the organization since 2009, WCO said in a statement.
Saunders was elected by members in June 2023 at the WCO’s annual Council sessions.
WCO said Saunders’s nomination by US Customs and Border Protection was not only a reflection of his outstanding career and vision for the future of global Customs operations, but also of the global confidence in his ability to guide the WCO through the ever-evolving landscape of international trade and security.
“While respecting the WCO’s rich past, there is a need to innovate and adapt to modern challenges,” Saunders said as he embarks on his five-year term.
“I intend to lead the Organization by forging strong and enduring public-private partnerships, leveraging technology, and promoting inclusiveness for effective global Customs cooperation, ensuring transparency and openness as fundamental principles of good governance,” he added.
Saunders will be serving a five-year term.
He has more than 20 years of Customs experience and 30 years’ experience in international relations.
As a member of the US Government Senior Executive Service since 2008, Saunders has a record of addressing complex challenges and elevating organizations to excellence. He has served the public and the international community in diverse and challenging roles focused on various facets of trade such as: Customs, commercial policy, travel, and infrastructure. Collaborative in style, considered in communication and accomplished in delivery, Saunders has led the implementation of programs, the formulation of policies and the forging of partnerships that have advanced facilitation and security in trade worldwide.